Belfast Telegraph

Consultation opens on best ways to battle Northern Ireland trafficking

By Staff Reporter

The public is being asked for its views on tackling modern slavery.

The Department of Justice has launched the Draft Northern Ireland Modern Slavery Strategy 2018-2019 and a public consultation will remain open until October 18.

Last year the National Crime Agency (NCA) warned that modern slavery and human trafficking was a "significant problem" in Northern Ireland.

At that stage NCA vulnerabilities director Will Kerr said that 34 victims had been identified and rescued in the previous year, with 13 suspects arrested.

Speaking last August, Mr Kerr warned that modern slavery was now so widespread that people would be coming into contact with victims daily.

Now the department's director of safer communities Anthony Harbinson said it aims to improve how it both pursues perpetrators and protects victims.

"Human trafficking and modern slavery deprives victims of their most basic human rights," he said.

"Working together we aim to strengthen and improve the ways we pursue the criminals who are exploiting the vulnerable, also how we protect and support victims, and how we can prevent others from falling prey to the criminals who are involved in the vile crimes around modern slavery.

"Tackling modern slavery requires a whole societal response."

Responses can be made by visiting https://www.justice-ni.gov.uk/consultations/draft-modern-slavery-strategy-2018-19 or by phone on 028 9052 3108.

Belfast Telegraph

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